Sony on Tuesday became the latest PC and electronics vendor to enter the tablet market with a bet on Google's tablet-focused Honeycomb flavor of Android. The big question: Is Honeycomb up to the task?
For sure, Sony has two interesting tablet designs including one focused on dual screens. Sony is also talking about connecting its networks---PlayStation, music, video and e-books---to these tablets to reach entertainment nirvana of some sort. Sony sees these tablets, which land in the fall, playing nice with its TVs and other consumer electronics.
Add it up and we have an increasingly crowded Honeycomb tablet bandwagon that now includes:
- Barnes & Noble (arguably the best Android tablet for the money today)
- Many others I'm probably forgetting.
The rub: Motorola stormed the field with its Honeycomb-powered Xoom tablet and promptly tripped. The biggest complaint: Honeycomb was buggy and there was a lack of apps.
Judging from hardware makers, the fix here is to put an overlay on Honeycomb. Lenovo will gussy up Honeycomb for its ThinkPad tablet. Sony is betting on its network. HTC will have its Sense overlay.
Bottom line: There are going to be a few fragmented experiences here in team Honeycomb. In addition, there are no leaders emerging. If team Honeycomb were a pro football team it would be a losing one today with some upside to become mediocre.
The good news so far is that it's early in the tablet game, but Apple isn't standing still. Apple operating chief Tim Cook said on the company's earnings call that Android devices expect the customer to be the systems integrator. So far, Cook's assessment is about right since tablet makers haven't put all the pieces together just yet. Will Sony be the big winner?